A kind of dancing more than a specific dance, Disco has strong roots in Swing, Samba, Cha-Cha, Mambo, Merengue, Fox Trot and Tango. The most popular version, the Hustle (of “Saturday Night Fever” fame), is believed to have originated in New York in 1970. This free form style is still one of the most popular at all night clubs and socials.
A street festival dance that originated in Brazil, the Samba was introduced to the United States in the late 1920s in a Broadway play called “Street Carnival.”
Introduced by band leader AnselmoSacaras in 1944, the Mambo – a merger of Swing and Rumba – didn’t really catch on until the 1950s, but remains very popular today.
Considered too scandalous when it was introduced to the United States in 1941, the Merengue went into eclipse until 1957 when Xavier Cugat resurrected it.
An offshoot of the Mambo, the Cha Cha (originally the cha-cha-cha) evolved out of popular movements in a slow-tempo Mambo called the Triple Mambo.